After spending a year lunching in the city of lights, I’d like to say I know my way around the food scene pretty well. Here are my nine favorite lunch spots in Paris that I visit again and again and where I send friends and family who plan to visit the city.
Le Comptoir du Relais – French
Not to sound like a Zagat guide or anything, but this is classic French bistro food with a modern twist, all at an affordable price. If you’re feeling peckish before or after dinner head to next door to l’Avant Comptoir for crêpes and tapas.
Well, I guess all the hype is worth it because Breizh Café really does have amazing salted butter caramel crêpes. Though I don’t love quite the ambiance (there are just way too many tourists and fellow English speakers afoot), it makes a great stop between shopping and strolling in Le Marais.
For more info here’s my full review of Breizh Café.
Frenchie To Go
Feeling homesick for the good ol’ U.S. of A.? Come to Frenchie for lunch. It’s known in the expat community as a great place to snack on some of your favorite anglo-eats like cheesecake, doughnuts, pickles and maple smoked bacon. Also- Please. Eat. The. Lobster. Roll. (But if you can’t afford the 23 euro price, the pulled pork sandwich is pretty good too.)
If you ask me, a life without Mexican food is not life. Which is why I was so happy to find an authentic Mexican restaurant in Paris. This tiny place made me actually feel like I was in Mexico: the shabby counter, the slowly revolving fan, the Spanish-speaking owners. The only non-Mexican aspect is the Parisian prices- at three euros a taco, you will feel like you south of the border until just before you get the bill.
Le Relais de l’Entrecôte
Free refills on beverages may not exist in France, but evidently, free refills on steak frites do. Le Relais de l’Entrecôte serves some of the best steak frites in the city, and at 27 euros for two orders, it’s not a bad deal. While the tender meat and the crispy fries are delicious,what really makes the meal special is the parsley butter sauce, or as I think it should be called, What-in-God’s-name-is-this-I-would-give-my-first-born-for-some-more sauce.
Rue Sainte-Anne for Japanese
Want to hear a random fact about Parisians? They’re obsessed with sushi and Japanese food. (I suspect it’s for the low-carb aspect, ahem.) So do like the Parisians do and come to the Rue Saint-Anne for your Asian fix- I would particularly recommend a steaming bowl of ramen or some Japanese curry.
There’s nothing that warms up a bitingly cold winter day like a hot bowl of bimbimbap- and as Edna showed me, Dawa is the place to get it. Though I am not terribly well-acquainted with Korean food (something I need to remedy immediately!), the food at Dawa struck me as authentic, reasonably priced and obviously, extremely yummy.
Rue des Rosiers
Oh, dear. How many times can the falafel on the Rue de Rosiers be blogged about? But really, there’s a reason why most Paris foodies will direct you to the Rue des Rosiers- there’s just nowhere else in Paris to get such fresh, inexpensive falafel topped with topped with cabbage, eggplant and spicy harissa sauce. While L’As du Fallafel is the most famous restaurant on the street, I’ve tried most of the falafel on the street and it’s basically the same everywhere.
Nameless French Bistro
When in doubt in Paris, just got for the classics. This is a salade de chèvre chaud I tried at a little bistro near the Place des Vosges. All it consists of is butter lettuce, tomatoes, hard-boiled eggs, shallot vinaigrette and baguette with goat cheese, and it’s one of my favorite dishes in the world- which goes to show you sometimes simple really is best.